Open Letter to the House: Protect our headwaters

April 28, 2015

(Note: Please call your representative in the House today. Tell them to support clean water and oppose bills that would threaten our headwaters) 


Dear Member of the House of Representatives:

On behalf of Trout Unlimited’s more than 150,000 members nationwide, I am writing to urge you to support fishable, swimmable, drinkable American water by opposing HR 1732, the “Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015”, and supporting the elimination of the harmful anti-clean water rider (Section 105) in the Energy and Water bill, when these measures come to the floor this week.  

Sportsmen, and stakeholders from all sides, have been asking Congress and the federal agencies to fix the Clean Water Act jurisdictional problem since 2001. Here we are at last in 2015, weeks away from a final rule from the federal agencies, and the House is considering HR 1732 and an appropriations bill rider, both of which would kick the problem down the road again without House members even seeing the final rule. That makes no sense. The agencies have conducted a rigorous review and outreach process and are revising the proposed rule in light of extensive public input. Congress should not take precipitous action on the clean water rule. The final rule should be carefully reviewed by all stakeholders before it is judged.

TU strongly supported the proposed clean water rule because it clarified and strengthened the very foundation of the Clean Water Act’s protections for important fish and wildlife habitat, especially the small headwater streams that serve as the keystone of watershed health. Based on our experience working in the field with the Clean Water Act, and the detailed analysis completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, EPA, and OMB for the proposal, we believe that the clean water proposal was a worthy solution. When it is finalized, likely in just several weeks, it will provide landowners, conservationists, and businesses with substantial improvements in how the law is implemented.  

We urge the House to review the final rule when it is completed.  The agencies have conducted hundreds of stakeholder meetings and have considered over 1 million comments on the draft, and more than 85 percent of the comments supported the proposal. The final version will almost certainly contain changes designed to fix the constructive criticisms that some have offered during the comment period, resulting in a clearer, stronger final product.   


'The agencies have conducted hundreds of stakeholder meetings and have considered over 1 million comments on the draft, and more than 85 percent of the comments supported the proposal.'


The Clean Water Act is vital to TU’s work, and to anglers across the nation. Our mission is to conserve, protect and restore North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. Our volunteers and staff work with industry, farmers, and local, state and federal agencies around the nation to achieve this mission. On average, each TU volunteer chapter annually donates more than 1,000 hours of volunteer time to stream and river restoration and youth education.  The Act, and its splendid goal to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation's waters” serves as the foundation to all of this work. Whether TU is working with farmers to restore small headwater streams in West Virginia, removing acidic pollution caused by abandoned mines in Pennsylvania, or protecting the world famous salmon-producing, 14,000-jobs-sustaining watershed of Bristol Bay, Alaska, we rely on the Clean Water Act to safeguard our water quality improvements.

The Clean Water Act has always been about restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters. The Clean Water Act provides bedrock support for 47 million hunters and anglers, and for the 117 million Americans whose drinking water depends on healthy headwater streams. Attached is a letter from 10 national sportsmen’s organizations supporting the rulemaking and opposing Congressional efforts to undermine it.

Protect America’s clean waters. Oppose HR 1732, and Section 105 of the Energy and Water Appropriations bill.

Thank you for considering our views.


Steve Moyer

Vice President of Government Affairs

Trout Unlimited


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